Last week of what-the-heck-ing, with an aerobic run, a hill workout, and a casual tempo workout on the roads as my quality for the week. I'm back on the track next week. As a runner, at least.
I technically returned to the track this week, substituting in for my coach while he went on vacation, as has become our annual habit. I enjoy subbing in for the week - it's both fun and educational. And one of the things I re-learn every year is just how much work goes into managing a track workout.
Timing a track workout is a skill, and takes practice. It'd be much easier if our team was composed of those running identical paces. But we're a diverse team, and so there are multiple groups to time and monitor simultaneously.
To time, I use a timing app on my phone that lets me set up different clocks running in
|the timing app - if I have more|
than 5 clocks going,
I have to scroll up and down
For me at least, once I have more than three groups running, it's hard to remember which group matches each clock. That's where educated guessing comes in. I have a general sense of the splits each group should be running, and so as that group approaches me, I look at my virtual collection of clocks and pick the split that makes the most sense for that group.
This, of course, is easier when everyone is doing a short, even workout like 6x800. Longer intervals like 3x1600 can get a bit trickier, since on our team, 5:02 could easily be a 1200 split or a mile split, depending on the runner. (Though longer intervals are also easier in that there's less of them to time.)
Ladders or pyramids (like 400/800/1200/1200/800/400) increase the difficulty, since I have to remember which group is doing which distance - one group may be finishing up with their last 400 just as another group is finishing their second 1200.
And...it gets really tricky when people that were running together as one group decide to split up into different groups and start the next repeat at slightly different times. This means I have to add additional clocks onto the bottom of my phone screen. And then guess at which of two very similar splits applies to which person as they approach.
That, of course, is just the timing aspect. There's also the whole watching how people are running aspect, trying to read whether the workout needs to be adjusted or someone needs to be shut down. Even though nearly everyone on my team is an experienced runner who generally knows when to pull the plug to stop further damage, it's still easier emotionally for the runner if someone else makes the decision.
When I first started running with a team, I had totally unrealistic expectations for how workouts would go, based on my years of riding. I was used to riding around a course of fences or a ring while someone watched me carefully and called out instructions as needed. This was followed by a minute or two of hashing out (sometimes painfully) what I had just done and how to improve it. And then we'd go again, unless we were done.
I thought track workouts would be similar, and was surprised when my coach wasn't necessarily aware of how I had split each interval, and didn't have a lot of feedback on my running form after each lap. But while riding lessons are exercises in individual scrutiny, track workouts are just big plate-spinning contests for whomever is managing them. I've since learned that it's amazing how much feedback and guidance I do get when I run a workout. I have no idea how my coach does it.
Monday: Yoga and 8 "miles" of pool-running. Foam rolling at night.
Tuesday: 9 miles aerobic (7:51) and then 900 yards of recovery swimming. Foam rolling at night.
Wednesday: 9.5 miles very easy (9:03) plus drills, strides, upper body weights and core. Foam rolling at night.
Thursday: 11.5 miles, including 8 hill repeats (each repeat is ~550m up, then ~200m jog, ~200m stride, and ~150m jog down to base of hill). Followed with injury prevention and lower body strengthwork, and 1100 yards recovery swimming, plus foam rolling.
Friday: 7 "miles" of pool-running and yoga. Foam rolling in the evening.
Saturday: 12.5 miles, including a tempo workout of 2x2 miles in 13:08 (6:38/6:30) and 13:23 (6:42/6:41) . Followed with injury prevention and lower body strengthwork, and 1000 yards recovery swimming, plus foam rolling.
Sunday: 9.5 miles very easy (9:08), followed by drills, stride, upper body weights/core and foam rolling.